Sunday, June 30, 2013

Countdown to the circus

Rachel had the great idea to work on our classroom for Vacation Bible School after work the past few weeks during the time I refuse to walk due to the heat. 

We almost have the room ready, and now the heat is on to get onto the lessons before next Monday. We're obviously doing a circus theme. We still have some posters to hang up.

The next couple of work weeks will be a circus too. Two weeks before I am on vacation for a week. I haven't had to prep to do that since this time last July. 

By the time I get through the next two weeks, I'll be ready for a vacation. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

They still put on a good show

There's some phrase about insanity and repetition. I'm pretty sure that proof of my insanity is evident that I've been to four New Kids on the Block concerts. Four. But to my defense, that's over the course of 23 years.

Ok, fine, yes, three of them were in the past five years. 

Don't judge me. 

They still put on a really, really good show. And the same friend has gone with me to all four. The first time we had to have an adult go, and the second time another friend went with us, but this is our thing. We go in solidarity. It's our guilty pleasure, and we love it.

This time around, they are touring with Boyz II Men and 98*. What I didn't know is that the concert would only be those three groups with absolutely no other lame opening acts. Who knew? I left town about 15 minutes after I intended, and we waited for what we thought was a little too long for our food at the restaurant. Yes, the tickets said 7:30, but we didn't get there until 8. It was a Friday night concert at American Airlines Center.  I don't know the last time I went to a concert in a venue like that where there wasn't a lame opening act - someone you've never heard before and most certainly will here again.

So we were surprised that when we got in, all the security guards and the few men in the building were mouthing the words to "Motown Philly." 

Sidetrack moment... You have to realize at a concert like this that at least 95% of the attendees are women (and the men are the ones who will do anything for their wives, including grudgingly attend a NKOTB concert), so they turn all the men's rooms into women's restrooms and the men have to stand in line one at a time the family restrooms. I have a friend whose husband bought her tickets and was there. He was having a hard time finding a men's room. 

As we got to our seats, Boyz II Men were literally running off the stage. We missed their whole set. Who knew? 98* came out immediately. As in no lights coming up in the venue. Talk about efficiency! 
I was a bit disappointed, but more surprised than anything. Some of my other friends that were there said they were awesome. That's too bad because I would have traded some of the time I saw 98*.

I was in college when 98* had their day in the spotlight. I wasn't in to any bands at that point. Yes, I knew some of their songs, but they either all sound alike or have "do re me fa sooooooo" in them. Literally. And dorky. I was trying to get a picture of Nick Lachey on the big screen and got Drew again. If it weren't for Dancing With the Stars, I'd know nothing about Drew Lachey. Drew does have some moves!

I thought they just had 3 members, but there were 4. And looking at one of the guys in the group today, I can't figure how he ever made the cut for a boy band. Not a looker. He at least did not hold up that well.

At 9:00 on the dot, NKOTB was on stage and did a full two hours. We got our money's worth with a good show. Very entertaining.

Not sure what's up with Donnie Wahlberg's new glasses though. It's like they add another element to his personality. My mom watches Blue Bloods and just can't picture his as a singer. He's completely different live than on the show. He's so mellow on the show. She just doesn't understand. "Did he sing last night?" she asked. Uh, yeah Mom.

Some of them are holding up better for being between 40-44 than others. Man, we're all getting old.

With their rotating stage with lifts, it's amazing how they can get the stage transported for shows on consecutive nights with all of the pieces without it falling apart. It's things like this that have me in awe.

When we left the building, their buses were right outside. We decided we'd hang out a few minutes and see if we could catch a glimpse. There were a good number of people waiting around (we were right up front in the crowd), but more waiting down on the other end. Some of the people around us were convinced they saw Jon running around. I have my doubts about that.

We finally gave up and headed home. But Jenny says next time we're going to see them afterwards. I guess that means there will be a 5th time.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Too busy going deaf to blog tonight!

I may really be going deaf in my left ear now.
Jenny and I are at our 4th New Kids on the Block concert in 23 years. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What good is having your own blog if you can't rant from time to time?

What do you get so absolutely tired about reading on your Facebook feed? Is there someone who always posts/shares things that drive you crazy? Are there people you would hide except you do want to see a few of their posts to keep up with them? Do you wish you could hide some people, but just don't have the time to because it's too hard to do on your phone or just don't have time.

Now granted, I agree that everyone has their right to post whatever they want on Facebook, so I'm blogging my free speech on my blog tonight. After all, why have a blog if you can't rant on it from time to time?

You probably hate all of my stupid updates, and you can share your hatred for my posts here. Including my pointless pictures of the day that I do just because I told myself I was going to take a daily picture this year. Stupid Facebook challenge.

As I have said before, although I believe in freedom of speech, Facebook would be a much happier place without all of the political conversation, including, but not limited to gun control, abortion and homosexuality.

My rant goes on from here, and I had it up for 15 minutes before deciding I was going to offend someone and make them mad and took them down. Especially, if they recognized themselves in the post. Evidently, I care more about being politically correct than anyone else on Facebook. If you want the full rant, I can email it to you. 

Maybe we should all be a little more considerate of people. Just a thought. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bekah Hamrick Martin Shares The Bare Naked Truth

An interview with Bekah Hamrick Martin,
Author of Bare Naked Truth

Teens are bombarded from all sides when it comes to messages on sex. At church, they hear, “Wait until marriage,” while the rest of the world loudly asks, “Why wait?” Even though they know deep down what they should do, heart and hormones challenge the head. Debut author Bekah Hamrick Martin provides an honest discussion on purity, boys and relationships in a new book aimed at teen girls, The Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting, and God’s Purity Plan (Zondervan/May 7, 2013/ISBN: 978-0310734024/$9.99).

Q: Tell us about your journey and what led you to write a purity book for teens.

I wouldn’t call it so much of a “purity” book as a “waiting” or “start waiting” book. The Bare Naked Truth really started over ten years ago when every conversation I had in camp ministry eventually came back to the topic of dating or waiting. It’s an age-old dilemma, but none of the girls I worked with felt like it was being approached in a modern or relevant way.

Q: What makes The Bare Naked Truth different than other books in stores with a purity message?

The tone of the book is satirical--something that today’s teens understand. I love the fact that over 20 different authors contributed their voices and stories in order to appeal to girls of every background!

Q: Throughout your book, you share the testimonies, struggles and lessons from various people. What insights did you gain from their stories?

I learned (once again) that God is able to redeem ANYTHING. I knew this from my own past, which was difficult to write about, but the fact that so many women were bare naked honest in the book just makes it so much more real. I love seeing how God is bigger than anything Satan throws at us.

Q: What’s one thing you wish someone would’ve told you when you were a teenager?

Your past doesn’t define you. Your “purity” is not your worth. I was taken advantage of as a child in every way you can imagine. That’s why I actually shy away from the word “purity”, because I don’t like the fact that a girl who has made less-than-great decisions or been taken advantage of can be made to feel less-than. No matter what your past, you are now in Christ. And that’s all God sees when He looks at you. That’s what I wish I had felt in my heart.

Q: What are practical steps girls can apply to their everyday lives to remain pure?

Decide beforehand what your boundaries are. Don’t wait until the heat of the moment. Then, find a mentor who stands behind what you’ve decided and will help you be strong in your decisions!

Q: You offer quizzes, questions or space for reflection at the end of each chapter. In what setting do you hope readers will use this book? Individually as a devotional or in a small group to promote discussion?

I really hope girls will use these questions individually, then bring them back to a group setting. I envision girls everywhere forming book-study groups that can hang out and encourage each other in their choices. And I’m actually doing an online study via Skype that will later be available on YouTube. You can find out more information on my website at or

Q: What are some ways parents can get involved without invading their daughter’s privacy or scaring her away?

It’s all about relationship. If you want respect from your daughter, she needs to see that you’re committed to the same things you’re asking of her. If you don’t want her to be involved in risky behavior, you need to find help for healing what’s causing your own risky behaviors. You can find tips for how to do that on my website as well.  

Beyond that, if you’re already setting that example, start with intentionally hanging out with your daughter--no agenda. Go shopping, watch a movie; do things that build relationship. As she trusts you more and more, she will respect your opinion when an opportunity arises to share it.

Q: Who or what was influential in your decision to save yourself for marriage?

I was raised by parents who loved me and wanted the best for me. Despite that, there were points where I wanted to toss my standards out the window for some immediate gratification. Especially since I felt my innocence had already been robbed--so why not just have a little fun in a way where I could take charge?
Ultimately I really believe it was my family’s love through those rough patches that made me want to stick it out and make smart decisions for my future. I’m so glad I had that chance.

Q: How did you meet your husband?

We met at a youth event when we were 14--I have no recollection of it, but he had a crush on me! When I was 22, we reconnected when I worked at summer camp with his sisters. Pretty soon I noticed this tall Swedish-looking guy and that was all it took.

Q: Do young people today really face different challenges with dating and waiting than their parents or any other generations, or it the ages-old battle mankind has always faced?

It’s the same battle, just more intense. Parents have less time to engage their kids--and it’s not their fault; everything just moves at a faster pace. It’s also easy to turn on the TV or get advice from Seventeen... there are so many sources of information. But like I said before, I think the answer lies in good old fashioned relationship. If you have that with your kids, they’re more likely to respect your opinion and follow it. MORE likely--there are no guarantees.

Q: In a world that views woman as sexualized objects, how can we teach young girls they’re worth so much more?

Once again, I think it comes back to relationship. It’s not even really how we “teach” young girls, it’s more what they pick up from watching us and spending time with us. My daughter is going to soak up more from watching how I dress--how I interact with men--than how someone on TV does. Do I respect myself? Do I show her that?

Q: How does pop culture (music, TV, magazines, etc.) affect girls’ mindsets and self-esteem?

I think we have to constantly remind girls about what goes on behind the scenes to make women in magazines look like that. I saw a documentary on modeling once, and it was eye-opening for me. I plan to show it to my daughter when she’s ready; I want her to see that chasing after the perfect body will not fill you up inside--so many of these girls are only considered “good” for one or two photo shoots, then they’re tossed to the curb. I want every girl I talk with to “get” that they are so much more than how their bodies look, although it’s okay to take pride in and take care of that too.

Q: Can you tell us more about your ministry to teens?

I’ve ministered for the past ten years (through camping ministry, youth groups, & writing & speaking), to kids from so many different backgrounds--all the way from children of prisoners, to kids who are in church every single Sunday. When it comes down to it, these girls face the same issues. They are all seeking love, attention, and affirmation. And if I can be one voice that shares from the depth of the well Jesus is, it will be worth the vulnerability of sharing the bare naked truth from my own life. It’s my honor to know these intelligent girls, their stories, and to watch them make choices based on the bare naked facts--not scare tactics.

Learn more about Bekah Hamrick Martin and The Bare Naked Truth at or Readers can also become a fan on Facebook (Bekah-Hamrick-Martin) or follow her on Twitter (@BekahHMartin).

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

You know it's officially summer in Texas

You know summer has hit Texas when your electric bill jumps by $100 in one month. It's been plenty hot, but they are just now predicting 100 degrees this week.

My office at the front of my duplex was hot last year. I had to buy heat shields, I mean thermal curtains, and not turn on the air until late in the day to manage. I have to have it cold to sleep, so I'd down it at night and the cool would stick around for a while into the day. It's sort of like what they say about boiling frogs by starting them in cold water and gradually increasing the heat.

This year in the house, I have a brand new energy efficient air conditioner just for the office, however, because it is an upstairs room and heat rises, the A/C runs all day long. I don't think it's insulated too well. I may have to move down stairs for the next couple of months. I really, really don't want to do that though.

A couple of weeks ago, I called TXU for free nights. My theory is if I can let it run both A/Cs at a low temperature all night to cool down, I can keep the thermostat warmer during the day. I'm really not sure if this was wise since it does up my daily rate a little bit. I won't know until this time next month since  it just started last Friday when the meter was read.

I'm also going to have to pin up my thermal curtains so that they cover the whole wide window without covering the air exchange upstairs. They were too expensive to cut off and the backing is odd to try to sew through.

Wish me luck! And I will take donations.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The episode of The Bachelorette that I've been waiting for

And then, there were 11...

The intro into tonight's episode of The Bachelorette promises much. I hope it delivers.

The remaining men fly over to Munich, Germany, ready for romantic dates and time with Desiree. A few tried to speak some German, and let me just say that Kasey seemed less stupid when every sentence had a hashtag in it.

Chris Harrison tells the men that there will be a one-on-one, group date, and two-on-one. That's the one I look forward to. I've seen previews that it is Michael G and Ben. Let the punches fly!

Bachelor Chris - in whom I still don't understand the appeal - get's the one-on-one date. They go around Munich trying on traditional clothes, dancing, etc.

Meanwhile, Bryden feels his feelings haven't developed enough. He should have just not excepted a rose at the end of last week's show and saved ABC the airfare. He decides he cannot wait any longer and sets out to find Des to tell her. I was thinking, "what's he going to do, walk all around town looking for cameras?" Well, he walks around Munich asking anyone who understands English if they have seen cameras. He finds Des and asks Chris if he can interrupt for a few minutes.

Bryden tells her he's going home. The guys all gossip about how it will mess up her date and traumatize her psyche. Chris doesn't want to lose his time with Des and pouts on some steps somewhere. Des just wants to know why he didn't do this last week before he flew over. Who knows?

Des goes back to Chris, and they pick up their individual pitchers steins of German beer. He tells her she can talk about it, but she would rather not.

The group date card arrives while they are discussing the two-on-one... Dunt-dun-dun... (dramatic musical notes I just tried to type - they weren't in the show) Juan Pablo, James, Kasey, Zak, Brooks, Drew, Mikey.

Ben thinks it is very unfortunate for Michael. "If you're going home on a two-on-one date, you were going to go home sometime anyway."

Michael "plans to murder Ben." His words, not mine. Oh, ok, there was something about a gladiator in there somewhere.

Back to Chris' date. He thinks Des handled Bryden well. Why he keeps bringing up, who knows. OHHHHH snap! He has another poem he wrote on the plane again. I think she's going to cry. Not sure if that is a good or bad sign. Must be good. She kissed him.

There's more tonight than dinner. Another private concert with Matt White. (I have no clue who that is. Just like I had no clue who Grover Jennings was when someone called looking for him today.) Des thinks she can trust Chris with her heart. He's falling in love with her. I still don't get his appeal... personality, appearance or otherwise.

The guys on the group date meet Des at the tallest peak in all of Germany, or the base of it at least. The gondola takes them up. This is kind of freaky scary. (Glad the Smokeys aren't tat tall because I plan to go on a gondola in a few weeks on vacation.)

They make it to the top, above the clouds. It's beautiful. Someone somewhere is yodeling. Juan Pablo cannot yodel. The guys try it. If there were any dogs nearby, they would be howling in pain. Heck, I'm howling in pain. 

There are sleds for each of them to go down the mountain. It's still up for discussion if it was a bunny slope or a black diamond course.

"Love is like sledding down this hill," Zak muses. Well, I can tell you, it's not a hill. It is indeed a mountain.

Back at the hotel... Ben and Michael are sitting around not talking to each other. Chris comments on how it can't be fun.

It's been an unbelievable day, of course. Brooks talks to her and drones on about something. Mikey wants to do something fun. He wants to make a snowman family of 5.

Zak who likes to live like a nudist says that he once thought he wanted to be a priest. He decided on a mountain in Europe that he wasn't supposed to be a priest.

Someone makes a snide remark about James as he heads out to talk to Des. Brooks is going to take another shot at talking to her just to take time away from James because he is one way with her and another way around the guys. Aren't they all? So help me, James has the largest hands ever, and his watch is a wall clock. He evidently didn't break up their time, but Brooks gets the rose for the group date.

James then starts talking smack about Brooks, well, he actually just talks about how opposite they are. The only threat to James is himself, he says.

Ben plans on being a good Christian man about the whole situation (I think they bleeped him earlier in the show). The two of them sit in silence as they ride to their date. Michael talks about Ben saying what a great opportunity this is to promote his business. He says as a lawyer, he will expose Ben.

Des admits this will be A-W-K-W-A-R-D. The fight is on. Michael likes confrontation and says he knows Ben knows it. They cannot be silent two seconds without trying to insert some comment.

Des thinks since she didn't do the polar bear plunge last season in Canada it might be a good idea today. Ben doesn't want to do it, but... he's going to get the rose.

She changes her mind. No jumping in. She was teasing them the whole time. They are getting in a hot tug. Cross between a tug boat and a hot tub you can navigate over the lake. So far, so good, she thinks.

Talking about past relationships. Ben doesn't want to talk about his baby mama. Michael asks if he's talked to his son while he's been gone. Michael tries to make Ben a bad example in comparison to what his own father did. Des has changed her tune now that Michael starts pushing Ben's buttons. Ben is worried about trying to stay the good Christian man. Which, uh... he won't talk about this son's mom that he didn't love that way... Hmmmm.

Back at the hotel... Mikey thinks Ben is the front runner. James is trying to jokingly choke hold him, and Mikey is worried about his face getting greasy

Kasey and Drew overheard a conversation between Mikey and James that never should have happened. He tells Chris and Brooks about this. They were in the car on the way home, were asleep, woke up. James was talking about what they were going to do when they went home to Chicago. Mikey asked James about being gone for so long. James said after the show, they'll be able to find all sorts of women since they are famous now. He thinks if he gets in the top 4, he'll be set. They want to tell Des. 

Ben says the boat was not fun for him. He hopes tonight over dinner goes better. The boat was nothing on the awkward scale compared to dinner. Michael calls Ben out and asks why Ben has a problem getting along with the guys. Michael thinks it is an important quality to get along. Michael really makes a horse's rear of himself trying to create controversy. She quiets them both down, and asks them questions about what traditions they want to have or did have growing up.

Ben wants it to be about family on Sundays and going to church. Michael asks, "what about Easter Ben?  You didn't go to church on Easter?"

ADVICE TO MICHAEL: If your goal is to make Ben look bad, don't make yourself look like a crazed lunatic in the process.

Ben decides to be blunt. It was a Catholic service in German. Michael says, "all the other denominations, including a Mormon were there." When Ben brings up family, Michael says he didn't talk to his son on Easter.

Ben decides to excuse himself as to not blow a gasket. He is ready for this date to be over.

Des calls Michael out, "you didn't have to do that here." Michael tells Des he is going to be honest, and stand up for what's right. Des doesn't see qualities in either one of them she wants for the long haul and she's about ready to send them both home. I think Ben's two-faced and deceitful, but Micheal is AWFUL.

Michael finally realizes how upset and uncomfortable he made Des. Des goes out to check on Ben, and he tells her to go back in and enjoy her dinner. He's never had anyone question is faith and fatherhood like this. She knows guys don't like Ben, but it says something that he is such an outcast in this group of guys.

Des just doesn't see why everyone hates Ben, and wants to give Michael a chance to share why he is so passionate about his stance on Ben. More than his condescension, it's about the business opportunities he talks about.

Des shares with each man what is good about them, but wants to give the rose to someone she sees a potential future with. She gives the rose to Michael. He was such a jerk, I'd kick his butt to the curb. OOOPPPS. They've started bleeping Ben.

Michael the Lawyer feels like justice has been done. Des goes out to talk to Ben in private before they part on their merry ways. Ben, of course, thinks she made a bad choice.

All the guys have stayed up the latest ever to see whose suitcase goes. The guys all let out a celebratory "woot."

Ben can't wait to be seen in public with somebody. He says, "hello Hollywood" then expresses his desire to get drunk. #notagoodChristianexample

It's time for the cocktail party leading up to the 5th rose ceremony. She's thinking about doing something a little bit different. She sits down to talk to Chris Harrison. He asks who the best kisser is. Her first choice on someone to kiss is Brooks on a sentimental level, but Zak is a really good kisser.

She knows what she wants to do, so Des doesn't want to have a cocktail party. Drew's moral integrity will not let him not tell about the James situation. Kasey's ears heard this, and it's only right to tell. Since she doesn't want a party, the guys feel like they can't share the James news.

Chris, Brooks and Michael have roses. The other 6 have to sweat it out for the remaining 5 roses. They look constipated.

  1. Zak
  2. Kasey 
  3. Juan Pablo (he gets lots sometimes, but she keeps asking in Spanish #old)
  4. Drew
Will it be Mikey or James? JAMES. Drew is about to have a conniption. 

Mikey can't color coordinate his clothes and is on his way home. Des walks him out, but with class, leaves without spilling the beans on his man James. 

Drew plans on telling the truth. The truth will be heard!

Next week's preview has her kissing everyone. Kasey gets into an argument with James. James and Des have a sit down. Des resents the guys bringing her into this. 

Have I mentioned that I don't like any of these guys?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Monsters University

Yesterday, for Paige's birthday, we went to the movie that she has been waiting for since before Pixar even knew they were going to make it. ;)

Monsters University

As Paige calls it, "the prequel to my favorite movie ever!" I'm to blame. I've blogged about that before

Ever wonder how Mike and Sully became best friends? How does one train to become a master scarer? Well, that's what the story was about.

I really enjoyed it, but like Paige said, you can't really compare it to the first one because it's just different. It's true. 

I loved little Mike so very much. Sully was kind of a jerk though. You need to go see. You just need to go see it.

However, I will say that some of the previews/teases I saw beforehand weren't actually in the movie. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy birthday Paige!

Happy birthday to my favorite 12 year old in the whole wide world!

Thank you Paigey for letting Peyton and I go with you to "the prequel of my favorite move of all time!"

It would have been nice if the ID cards had been turned the right way so that you could get your picture made in them the right way.

Even though I told Paige I wasn't going to get her gift until we went on vacation so that she could pick something out, after seeing the movie I ordered her a little something. Because she is a nut case. I told her I was going to get her one if I found one.... Archie the Scare Pig. It's the one part of the movie that scared me. At first, I thought he was a goat. I'm still not so sure he isn't part goat.

Don't you want an Archie the Scare Pig?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tracie Peterson’s “The Quarryman’s Bride”

Welcome to the campaign for Tracie Peterson's newest book in
the Land of the Shining Water series, The Quarryman's Bride. 

Tracie is celebrating with a "True Love" $200 Anthropologie
giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party.


One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Anthropologie gift card
  • The Quarryman's Bride and The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 8th. Winner will be announced at the "The Quarryman's Bride" Facebook Author Chat Party on July 9th. Connect with Tracie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Tracie will also share an exclusive look at the next book in the Land of Shining Water series and give away books and other fun prizes throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of The Quarryman's Bride and join Tracie on the evening of July 9th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today. Hope to see you on the 9th!

About the author:
The latest book in the Land of Shining Waters series.
Peterson Hits the Bestseller Lists Again and Again!
Emmalyne Knox and Tavin MacLachlan were destined to be together…until the tragic deaths of Emmalyne’s youngest sisters. Family tradition mandates that the youngest daughter should remain single to care for her parents in their old age, and now that daughter is Emmalyne. Her father unyielding, Emmalyne surrenders to her duty, heartbroken. Tavin leaves town, equally devastated.
Years later, Emmalyne’s family moves, and she and Tavin meet again. Their feelings for each other are as strong as ever, but their painful past and Emmalyne’s father still stand between them. Soon both families are in the midst of the growing conflict rising between the workers at the granite quarry that Tavin’s father owns and operates. When a series of near-fatal accidents occur, Tavin must figure out who is behind the attacks before someone gets killed.
Bound by obligation, yet yearning for a future together, can Emmalyne and Tavin dare to dream that God could heal a decade-long wound and change the hearts of those who would stand in the way of true love?
About the author:
Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over eighty novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana, and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana. 
Visit Tracie's Web site at

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Randy Singer Discusses Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales

An interview with Randy Singer on his latest release,
Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than ten legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine’s select list of “Legal Elite” litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his “Jekyll and Hyde thing”—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. 

Visit his website at

What was your inspiration for this book, Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales?

Two things worked together to inspire this book. First, the scandals that rocked college football in the last few years. Have you ever noticed that when a player gets in trouble and is kicked off a team or sent to prison, we never hear from him again? What happens to him? Are there some inspirational stories of redemption out there? Do these young men ever discover a meaningful life beyond football?

Second was a friend of mine with a real-life story of redemption. He had committed a felony as a college student but had become a believer while serving his time. Everyone who knew the man verified that his life had dramatically changed while in prison. He was not just a model prisoner, but he became a spiritual leader and a catalyst for change in others as well.

When he was released from jail, he went to law school, where he was respected by all his peers and professors. After graduation, he applied for a license to practice law. His dramatic turnaround raised societal questions about the restoration of rights for those who have served their time and demonstrated that they’ve changed.

That’s when the what-ifs started happening. What if a college quarterback got caught up in a point-shaving scandal in a major football conference like the SEC? What if he went to jail and turned his life around? What if that man became a lawyer determined to prove his integrity and loyalty to the firm that hired him? And what if somebody had a vendetta against that firm and started killing its lawyers one by one? That’s where this book started—on a football field, in a courtroom, in a small and dysfunctional law firm in Virginia Beach (not mine—the one in the book!), a firm that believed in giving a changed man a second chance, a firm fighting for its very life.

Tell me about your main character, Landon Reed. Was his character based upon anyone in particular?

As I explained in response to the previous question, the inspiration for Landon Reed came from a real-life friend. That man showed me how much someone can truly change while incarcerated and how hard it can be to rebuild a life with a felony conviction. But he also demonstrated that, by God’s grace, it can be done. He became the inspiration for my protagonist, Landon Reed, and for that I am deeply in his debt.

What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?

I once heard a well-known Hollywood scriptwriter say that the two themes shown to most resonate with moviegoers were stories of redemption and forgiveness. It made me realize that God has planted an attraction for the themes of the gospel deep in our hearts.

Landon Reed’s life is a quest for redemption and forgiveness. Most of his former teammates have spurned him, but one of his offensive linemen stuck with him throughout his entire ordeal. That man plays a major role in this story. As a former quarterback, it was fun describing the “band of brothers” relationship between a quarterback and the members of his offensive line.

There’s also the question of how much society forgives someone who has been convicted of a serious crime. What roles are off-limits afterward? Should somebody who has committed a felony be allowed to practice law?

It’s fascinating to see how some athletes “earn” redemption after significant scandals, provided they can perform better than before. But what about those former athletes who never make it back into the game? How does a man like Landon obtain forgiveness and redemption for what he has done?
For Landon, earning redemption means proving his loyalty. When Landon went to prison, his girlfriend was pregnant with their first child. She waited for him while he served his time. She became Mrs. Landon Reed as soon as he was released. But this young couple faces unbelievable challenges to their marriage when Landon is willing to risk the safety of his family to prove his loyalty to the only firm that would take a chance on him.

Lawyers at the firm start dying, and a sensible man would run as far and fast as possible. But Landon is tired of running. And sometimes a quest for redemption makes a man anything but sensible. Driven to be a hero, Landon has to decide whether he is willing to sacrifice his own family in his quest for redemption.

How do you expect Landon’s story to resonate with your readers?

All of us have mistakes in our past that haunt us. One of my favorite verses is Joel 2:25a: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten . . .”

This is ultimately the story of how God can use our greatest mistakes and turn them into something redemptive. The first step, of course, is taking responsibility for our actions, facing into them, and owning them. I think we will all see a little bit of ourselves in Landon Reed.

As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?

There is an axiom that writers should write what they know best. I’ve added a corollary: Writers should write what they know best and what they love most. That’s what I did with Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales.

The story takes place in the legal community in Virginia Beach. In fact, the law office that Landon joins is in the same building where my firm is actually located. How’s that for writing about things you know? Moreover, I had some great mentors in the practice of law (I dedicated this book to them), so I gave Landon a colorful and affable mentor as well—a crafty old lawyer named Harry McNaughten.
But ultimately this is a book about what matters most: family relationships, loyalty to our spouses, and being changed by our faith. I loved crafting this story not just because it hit close to home but because it’s the story of an underdog battling the giants in his life—both those of his own making and those on the other side of his cases. And I love underdogs!

When lawyers start dying in Landon’s firm, he finds himself in way over his head with only his faith, his family, and his best friend to help him. For me, crafting that type of David and Goliath story never grows old.

What is your hope for this story? How would you like it to impact readers?

My hope is that I’ve raised important issues about redemption, forgiveness, and the power of the gospel to change lives. My goal is to entertain readers with a fun and compelling story while they wrestle with those issues. But there is also a more subtle thread throughout the story—an allegory for what Christ did on our behalf. I hope to surprise readers when that allegory is fully revealed at the end of the book.

How has this novel helped you to grow as a storyteller?

Something happened when drafting this story that has never happened to me before. Before I ever start writing a book, I put together a very detailed outline of the characters and plot (usually about twenty
pages long). The plot changes and evolves as the story is written, but I always know generally where the story is headed. This time, I got about halfway through the book and just ran into a brick wall with the plot. No matter how hard I tried to work the angles, I couldn’t seem to pull it all together in a coherent, believable, and compelling way.

I called my editor at Tyndale, Karen Watson, and told her that this story just wouldn’t work. But Karen wouldn’t let me quit. Eventually, everything came together in what I hope will be one of my best plots ever. This book is a story about persistence in the face of adversity and, providentially, writing the book taught me the same thing.

What have I learned as a storyteller? Sometimes our best stories are the ones we almost give up on. Nothing valuable in life comes without a struggle.

Your novels are typically multi-layered and keep readers guessing until the end. Would you say that Dead Lawyers Tells No Tales is similarly full of surprises?

I hope it is. I love to throw in enough twists and turns to keep readers off balance. When I read other authors, I love to be surprised so long as the author plays fair.

It’s easy to surprise somebody by bringing in some random twist from left field that has nothing to do with the story. But that’s not playing fair. My perfect ending is one where the reader says, “Wow! I didn’t see that coming, but I should have.” That’s the kind of ending I try to write.

Can you share anything about the next project you are working on?

Next Easter, I will be releasing a book that I am more excited about than any other book I have ever written. It feels like the book I was born to write. It brings together my roles as pastor, lawyer, and storyteller.

The working title of the book is The Advocate. It’s the story of Theophilus, the man to whom Luke addressed his Gospel and the book of Acts. My premise is that Theophilus was Paul’s court-appointed advocate to represent him in front of Nero, probably the most despised ruler in the history of Rome (and that’s saying a lot). Theophilus was chosen because he had served in Judaea as Pilate’s assessore, or law clerk, during the trial of Jesus.

My hope in writing the book is that it might bring to life the stories surrounding the two greatest trials in the history of the world. One of those, the trial of Christ, has been studied, dissected, and analyzed more than any other trial for the past two thousand years. The other, the trial of Paul in front of Nero, has been a great mystery. We only know that Paul was somehow miraculously acquitted and left Rome to serve for a short time as a missionary in Spain. Both of these great trials changed the lives of everyone associated with them and the trajectory of history.

It’s a real stretch for me to write historical fiction, especially a book that is so intertwined with the 
story of the gospel. But I am embracing the opportunity. I’ve had a chance to visit Rome and talk to some amazing historians. I know for a fact that this is the most challenging and rewarding book I’ve written. My prayer is that it might also be the most impactful.

In addition to being an author, you are also a pastor and a lawyer. How do you reconcile those two things, and what skills do they have in common?

Most people think that someone who is both a pastor and a lawyer is an extremely rare bird. In fact, I had one reader e-mail me and say that she loved my books but that her son said it was impossible for somebody to be both a pastor and a lawyer!

That mind-set assumes an artificial barrier between “ministry work” and “secular employment.” In truth, everything we do is ministry, and we should do it with all our heart, “as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). My law practice is a ministry just as much as my leadership at the church.
In both professions, I am meeting people at a point of need and often ministering to them in the biggest crises of their lives. To be effective, I need to have a servant’s heart for both my clients and my church members. And advocacy is an important skill in both trying a case and preaching the gospel.

A lot of people forget that Christ’s main method of making a point was through parables. Both pastors and lawyers are storytellers in the best sense of that word—not that we make stuff up but that we help our listeners enter into the story and become a part of it.

Come to think of it, I’m surprised there are not more people doing this!

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales

Today I bring you a review of 
Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales by Randy Singer

About the book:

Landon Reed is an ex-quarterback convicted of organizing a points-shaving scheme. During his time in prison, he found forgiveness and faith and earned his law degree. Now he longs for an opportunity to prove his loyalty and worth. Be careful what you ask for. 

Harry McNaughton is one of the founding partners of McNaughton & Clay—and the only lawyer willing to take a chance employing an ex-con-turned-lawyer. Though Landon initially questions Harry’s ethics and methods, it’s clear the crusty old lawyer has one of the most brilliant legal minds Landon has ever encountered. The two dive into preparing a defense for one of the highest-profile murder trials Virginia Beach has seen in decades when Harry is gunned down in what appears to be a random mugging. Then two more lawyers are killed when the firm’s private jet crashes. Authorities suspect someone has a vendetta against McNaughton & Clay, leaving Landon and the remaining partner as the final targets. 

As Landon struggles to keep the firm together, he can’t help but wonder, is the plot related to a shady case from McNaughton & Clay’s past, or to the murder trial he’s neck-deep in now? And will he survive long enough to find out?

About the author:

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than ten legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine’s select list of “Legal Elite” litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his “Jekyll and Hyde thing”—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children.

Visit his website at

My review:

Suspense and legal thrillers are my favorite genre to read, and Randy Singer is one of the best inspirational authors out there.

It's really hard to give a review of the book without giving away anything, so I'll say that I really, truly doubt that anyone guesses the ending before you get to it. I know I didn't. I got to the last chapter, and went "HUH?" It really did surprise me, but in retrospect made perfect sense when all the pieces fell together.

There were times I was wondering if we were going to get there though. I liked the book, don't get me wrong, but I think I would have liked it even more if you had more hints to solve the crime earlier on in the book. There's a sudden leap at the end that seems a bit unrealistic. I say that, then add that I hate reviews that say a novel is unrealistic because after all, it is a novel. It's not real life.

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales is a story of redemption, second chances and loyalty---not just for Landon, but the entire cast of characters. Singer does an excellent job of developing each of the characters and making them come to life.

You'll also feel like you're trying your first case in court, right along with Landon himself.

Singer even pokes a little fun at himself and fellow author/lawyers... He's a lawyer writing a book about a lawyer writing a book. :)

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Click on the following links to view an

For more about Randy Singer and his books,

Check out tomorrow's blog for an interview with
Randy Singer on Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

If you can't beat them, teach their children?

It doesn't take much to realize my sometimes angst about singles and church... especially when I'm expected at singles' events.

Our preacher participates in an annual lectureship and received his topics this week. He asked Rachel about his topic, then she pointed him my way because she new I had an opinion.

Sam sent me the message below, and I wanted to share some thoughts because maybe it will help plant seeds of ideas for others.

Got my assignments for Polishing the Pulpit in August. One of my lessons is called Seven Minutes of Wisdom (because that's about all I got). The audience is college age and singles in the church. The lesson is about dealing with friends who are married with children and all the talk about is their kids or their marriage. Thus making for boring, unnecessary conversation with single friends. The lesson is about how singles should deal with this situation. I know you have faced this some, so I thought I'd get some ideas from you to begin with. What do you think I should cover in 7 minutes?

Here are some of my ideas, for whatever they are worth. They are how I've been approaching things or have been involved with in the past.

Often times, it is the singles that HAVE to make the extra effort to socialize/maintain friendships with married people at church. With their kids, etc., they don't mean to ignore you, but run in their own mommy circles. It's often up to you to make the first move. Whether you live in a little cramped apartment or more entertaining space, invite some of your single friends and  married friends together to fellowship. In a group setting like this, topics vary and it isn't all about the husband and kids. And parents sometimes like a chance out of the house without their kids.

Start a prayer group of all men or all women. When you share/pray about what’s going on in your life, you’re on a more even ground whatever your problems are or where prayer needs are concerned. It opens doors to sharing experiences that go beyond whether or not you have a family of your own or not.

Become active in teaching in your congregation. Then, you can talk to the parents about their kids. If you know their kids better, you can share stories about them too, and it’s more interesting than to hear parents drone on about their kids that you don’t know. If it’s not teaching a class, maybe it’s helping chaperon a youth retreat or lock-in. GET ACTIVE!


Speaking of singles... 

Last Saturday, Mom asked me to go to Walmart and the Shoe Dept. with her. At first I said no (you know how I hate Walmart), but I decided to be nice and go along. There's a reason I don't want to go to the Shoe Dept. I used to hide from an employee there when he worked at another store. The girls were with me one time when I encountered him at the shoe store.

Sunday when Paige was having lunch with us, I told her, "I had to go to the Shoe Dept. with Granmal, you know what that means."

"OOhhh!" she says. "Was he there?"

Mom and I said, "yes."

Dad asks, "did he wait on you?"

"Oh, yes." in unison.

"Did he say, 'Hiiiii Audra?'" Paige asks.

"Yes!" my mom answers. They all laughed.

Yeah, yeah, I won't go next time. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Bachelorette... as it happens tonight

Tonight, I am blogging as I watch The Bachelorette on the night it comes on. Except, I came home about 30 minutes in. Ah, heck, I'll probably catch up after zooming through the commercials.

They are headed to Atlantic City. Isn't it basically a Vegas for old people in the northeast? Yeah, I know Atlantic City was big before Las Vegas was.

The date card... It's Brad. Maybe it was just me, but don't half of the guys this season's names start with a B? Brad, Ben, Brooks, Bryden, Brandon, Bryan. Mikey thinks Brad is a nice guy, a quiet guy, but not good for Des. Because Mikey is an expert. He calls everybody a kid too.

They go out on the boardwalk, ride some rides, eat some taffy, go in search of chocolate.

From the hotel, all the guys are watching them from the 44th floor. "Not the carousel, something always happens on the carousel."

Someone else voices their opinion of Brad not being the right guy. Maybe the right guy just isn't a single dad. Des likes him better now that he's revealed this fact.

They aren't very good conversationalists. A-W-K-W-A-R-D.

The next date card comes... Brooks, Bryden, Zak K., Kasey, Drew, Juan Pablo, Zack W., Mikey, Ben, Michael, Chris are on the group date.

James is going to get him a one-on-one.

Back to Brad. They are out of breath from climbing the lighthouse. I would be too. I was after climbing the lighthouse I climbed. They get to the top, and Des decides that something was missing and cut him loose. The guys all predicted this.

Brad is crying. But, he gets to go back to his son... is it Maddoux or Medix. It sounds like he says Medix every time.

Time for the group date. Brooks calls Des a unicorn that magically appears. This historical building, Boardwalk Hall, where they are is home to the Miss America pageant.

Michael G. has always dreamed of becoming Mr. America. This only backs up my theory that he is not straight. He sounds very not straight when saying this.

They are getting coaching from Miss America, and a pageant coach who may hit it off with Michael G. The coach invites the guys to a table so that they can pick out their talent. There are items such as a guitar, ukulele, pair of heels, pair of roller skates, pair of tap shoes, a baton, a hula hoop, gymnastic ribbons, a sonnet from Shakespeare.

"A train wreck at every station." "A hodge podge of Tom Foolery." These are the guys descriptions.

They get trained for the interview. "If you could pass along three traits to your kids...?", "What super human power...?", "What is the biggest problem in the world today?"

Then, they all get to pick out a swimsuit. There are a few Speedos, and the others are swim trunks. Some guys want Speedos. Some fear it. Mikey is disappointed that his swimsuit selected for him was bigger than the one he brought.

They find out that they'll have to do their pageant in front of a live audience.

"Kasey, in a relationship, are you a giver or a taker?"

"If you could be water or fire, which would you be (Zak)?"

Some guys do not do so well with their interview. Mikey likes long walks on the beach. He's tired of being a piece of meat.

Now, the talent portion...

Kasey tries to tap dance, but first he talks about making tap shoes as a child. I think he's a #liar. And a bad #dancer.

Mikey proves he was making up all the answers to his interview about being a piece of meat because he does Michael Jackson dance followed by a strip tease. And I think he has done it before...

Brooks makes up a song about looking white in his swimsuit while playing the ukulele. And he smashes it at the end.

Ben makes a fool of himself with gymnastic ribbons.

Nameless guy that doesn't stand out to me quotes Shakespeare. Drew, I think. Or Zack. One of the two because I know who the others are. Drew. Let's go with that.

Another nerdy guy in high heels with hoola hoops. I think that was Chris.

Bryden really tries to be a Magic Mike dancer.

Zak sings a song he wrote about a woman looking for a man. He can kind of play the guitar.

The time has arrived for the swimsuit round. Mikey can make his chest dance. Definitely has some experience. I think the plumber thing is just his costume or something.

The judges' results are in (there were 3 of them including Des).

2nd runner up... Brooks

1st runner up... Zak

And the winner of The Bachelorette's Mr. America is Kasey. #REALLY? You've got to be kidding me.

Group date pool party - the race to get to talk to Des. AKA Bash-on-Ben time.

Chris admits to going to coffee shops and reading poetry. He reads a poem. What-a-dork.

Ben again talks about not being here to make friends. Michael does he's weekly complaint about Ben having to be seen in front of everyone and hearing more about his bar than his son. Why are the guys ragging on him for talking in front of everyone. That's what most guys are doing.

Meanwhile, James is hanging out alone since he is the only one left not on the group date. He sits around in his robe drinking wine and taking a bubble bath. 

Back to the party, Zak sings another verse of song about a woman and a group of guys. His experience here. The look on Des face is "you can stop now." However, he gets the rose, so maybe I misread that.

On James' date, they do a helicopter fly over to see what Hurricane Sandy did to the area. In middle of such a pointless show, it's wild to see this devastation. Then, they talk to people who lost their homes. They give their date to the couple that lost their home.

So, Des and James go to a bar for pizza and beer. James decides to be honest and admits to cheating in a relationship of 5 1/2 years. She says she knows how you don't get over that because she had a boyfriend cheat on her. She's very skeptical of him now.

I started looking through Oriental Trading catalogs for Vacation Bible School because I am so bored through this date. The old couple give some advice to Des and James, then get a private concert with Darius Rucker. I think this is the 3rd private concert of the season. 

Let me mention here that I liked Darius better when he was with Hootie and the Blowfish than as a country singer.

Des, for some reason, trusts James and gives him the rose. They join Manny and Jan at the concert. It's a date they will never forget.

Now for the big cocktail party.

Bryden needs time with Des because he thinks he may not be accepting a rose if one was offered. He's been thinking about leaving. He doesn't know what he's going to do.

Michael G is a dork. And what happened to his thumb? He didn't break it during dodge ball.

Rose ceremony time... started with 13 tonight. One has already gone home. Zak and James have roses. There are only 9 roses to be given away.

  1. Chris
  2. Brooks
  3. Juan Pablo (why does she always have to ask in Spanish?)
  4. Drew
  5. Michael
  6. Ben (there goes Mikey doing the head back and forth thing to crack his neck again)
  7. Kasey
  8. Bryden (he stands there forever and finally says yes)
  9. Mikey

"Zack, I'm sorry. Take a moment to say your goodbyes."

He's shocked. He doesn't know what happened. He's not really to go home yet. Aren't they all?

They are headed to Munich, Germany next week.

Ohhhh, there is some bad yodeling during the previews. James has said that if he plays his cards right, he could be the next Bachelor. Ben is a fraud, Michael G is going to call him out. Go for it! Enough talk! Bring some action!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My list of 50 children's songs for church

Last night after posting pictures of my cards on Facebook, I had some people ask for my list of children's church songs. 

Here's the 50 that I came up with. Some of the recommendations that I was given, I didn't know, so didn't include. I knew these songs, so they made my cut. 

You may know some of these by another name. A few are not really kids songs, but songs I learned as a kid.

  1. Jesus Loves Me
  2. Jesus Loves the Little Children
  3. Oh, How I Love Jesus
  4. There was a Little Boy Named David
  5. Zaccheaus Was a Wee Little Man
  6. The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock
  7. I Want to Be Like Daniel, I Want to Be Like Ruth
  8. Creation Song
  9. Daniel (in the Lion's Den) / (Who did swallow) Jonah
  10. He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
  11. The B-I-B-L-E
  12. In right, Out right, Up right, Down right, Happy all the Time
  13. Books of the New Testament
  14. Books of the Old Testament
  15. The Apostles
  16. I've Been Redeemed
  17. Love is Something If You Give it Away
  18. This Little Light of Mine
  19. It isn't any Trouble
  20. Three Wandering Jews
  21. Rejoice in the Lord Always
  22. Blue Skies and Rainbows
  23. Peter, James and John in a Sailboat
  24. I've Got the Joy (Down in My Heart)
  25. Kum Ba Yah (new or old school)
  26. Lord's Army
  27. Gospel Chariot
  28. Read Your Bible and Pray Everyday
  29. Trust and Obey
  30. I've Got Peace Like a River
  31. Deep and Wide
  32. Arky, Arky
  33. Good 'Ole Noah Built an Ark
  34. Wrapped Up, Tied Up, Tangled Up
  35. Father Abraham
  36. Do Lord
  37. I'm Happy Today
  38. God is So Good
  39. Walkin' Down Heaven's Road
  40. I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
  41. I'm Gonna Sing (I'm Gonna Shout)
  42. Tip toe, Tip toe in God's House
  43. Oh Be Careful Little Eyes
  44. Hippopotamus Song
  45. The Lord is in His Holy Temple
  46. Jesus is a Friend, is a Friend Next to You
  47. The Color Song (Crayon Box)
  48. Heaven is a Wonderful Place
  49. He has Made me Glad
  50. If You're Happy and You Know It
If there are enough comments/requests, I'll hyperlink to sites where you can get the words.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What were your favorite Sunday School songs as a kid?

Here's what I'm working on tonight...

Our kids at church are missing out on a lot of songs they have never heard, so I like to try to teach songs. The poor children will undoubtedly learn them off pitch if I'm teaching them, but...

So, I'm making a deck of cards for them to draw from so that we can pick a variety of songs in the Kindergarten class each week. I came up with 50 that I know (although I had to print some of the words out since I don't remember all of them at the moment).

It's late tonight, so I'll share my list tomorrow or sometime next week.

Thanks to everyone who contributed their favorites on my Facebook comment tonight. You really helped me finish off my 50 cards.